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Help the Economy: Shop American

Posted Dec 11 2008 9:15pm
I am going to say something bad. Try counting to 10 and thinking before you dismiss me. Try substituting curiosity instead of judgment. My bad words are: "I finally understand what it is to be American." Not only that, I know how to do my part in helping turn around America's flagging economy. Years ago I was a pilgrim abroad seeking other cultures to plant my roots. After a year of traveling I returned to my home. It's too complex to reiterate all the reasons why, but I knew I was an American and this was where I would live.

So one thing Obama has got right is that if we are going to shore up our economy, we have to buy American. I am suddenly obsessed with the idea in the most practical way.

The election night tableau of the Obama family on stage brought home how much has changed in American culture. The history-ready photograph that was seen around the world was color-coded, perfectly designed and purchased all-American. Now let's get this straight. I love my Valentino and was recently photographed for a fashion magazine in my favorite Galliano. Wearing my red Dior lambskin jacket butters my soul. (Okay, I'm a bit hyperbolic, it's only my skin.) But American is now my preference, and you will be glad to hear, it won't be St. John.

Obama didn't wear Zegna or Brioni, two European men's designers whose fabrics and cuts are as they say "to die for." He stuck with the darkest blue Chicago company Hart Schaffner Marx made and looked just swell. His red and grey striped tie color coordinated with Sasha and Maila's outfits, and Michelle's black and red was also designed by an American. I admit, on TV the dress looked awful, but after researching the dress, it was by Cuban immigrant Narciso Rodriguez, designer of the wedding dress worn by the late fashionista Carolyn Bessette Kennedy. Michelle had tossed an all-American black cardigan over the dress's curvy lines and had probably never realized that the lacey fabric didn't show well on TV. I've little doubt that she'll do better next time.

But I've gotten the message. For years I've said that Detroit had to go hybrid to compete, that windmills were for more than chasing after and that manufacturing and purchasing US made would be how our economy could grow. This country is a great pace to travel, and vacations to fit every desire can be had without leaving our states and territories.

Does this mean I will avoid the rest of the word? No. After all, we are a World Wide Web world. But I will think twice about keeping my purchase close to home. When possible, I will shop American products. I suggest you do too.
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